After giving a speech about gender equality at a comic convention, the first comment I received was: "...the problem is that finding a geek girl is like finding a unicorn" This inspired the Geek Girls are Real project which consists of photos and interviews about geek girls in my community. Not unicorns, but actual geek girls. They all have different backgrounds, fandoms, opinions, and they are all self-proclaimed geeks. We are debunking the fake geek girl stereotype while shining a spotlight on some awesome geek girls. The project is kicking off with one of the most active members of Ladies Geeking Out, Lisabeth Little (32). She is a radiologic technologist that also coordinates the archiving of photos and communications of radiological exams in her workplace. She attributes the success of her career to the fact that she is able to adapt to situations quickly and she is proactive in figuring things out by herself. Like she says: "I can usually figure out a problem quickly and if it is something I can fix, I fix it."
Lisabeth was introduced to geek culture when she was a little girl and her mom rented all three "Star Wars" movies on VHS. She sat along with her family to watch them together and as she explains: "It was like 6pm and my siblings were done pretty early on but I stayed up for all three of the movies. I wanted more of it". She admits that what attracted her to "Star Wars" was the Wookies. She loves Chewbacca and once she watched the third movie, she fell in love with the Ewoks. As she explains it: "I just love adorable creatures". Interestingly, Lisabeth attributes her love of "Star Wars" to the movie "Spaceballs" as well. She was a fan of "Spaceballs" before watching "Star Wars" and even though she didn't get the references, she just loved the movie in general, to the point of watching it six to seven times a year with her siblings. When she finally watched Star Wars, she was excited to finally be able to understand the references.
Lisabeth's love of parody films can be appreciated once you enter her house, where she has life-size cut-outs of Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, and Mini-me. In 2005, she saw for the first time her favorite movie of all time, "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". She admits that before watching the movie, she was not familiar with Douglas Adams work, but once she saw the movie, she decided to read all of his books. She says: "Douglas Adams definitely opened my eyes to Sci-Fi literature."
For Lisabeth, being a geek means being passionate about something. She says: "I think the actual word is so broad that it is hard to define. What might be geeky to one person, might not be geeky to someone else." She admits that in high school and middle school she was called geek or nerd in a derogatory way, mainly due to her interests in books and studying. She says with a hint of sarcasm: "In 7th grade, I really liked the Power Rangers, and this was before it was cool to like them, so yeah... that was a fun year."
Even though, she became a target in school for being a geek, Lisabeth is optimistic and believes that things have definitely changed. In her own words: "Geek was used before as a derogatory term, but now it is better. I mean, people still joke about it, but I don't hear it as much."
Nowadays, Lisabeth is a huge Firefly fan and loves Marvel. Her brother and cousin also introduced her to the gaming convention GenCon and she says that for the most part she feels welcomed in that world, but there are certain aspects of it that still need work regarding gender equality. She shares: "This past year at GenCon, my cousin and I played a game called True Dungeon, that derives from Dungeons and Dragons and it has these rooms that are either battle rooms or puzzle rooms and you have to figure them out as you go through them. It is actually really fun. This past year I was a dwarf wizard and I had a wand. In one of the rooms I had to go around and do something with some eggs and I missed one in the pattern so I had to start over. As I go to start again, one of the male players grabs the wand out of my hand and yells “I'll do it!!” and I’m one of two women playing this game of 12 players. I let it go because it just wasn’t worth fighting over but at the end my cousin apologized on the guy's behalf. But before that incident, the guy had made some comments throughout the game that were offensive too, like “why is she here” and “girls talk too much” because we were trying to figure something out."
Even though Lisabeth has experienced these types of situations, she doesn't allow them to affect her or inhibit her from gaming or exploring other areas of geek culture. When she joined Ladies Geeking Out (LGO), Lisabeth explained that she was looking for ways to get out more and after reading LGO's mission and browsing through some of the member profiles, she decided that LGO was a group that she would enjoy and that the members where people she would have a lot in common with. As an active LGO member she mentions that the group has definitely opened her eyes to other types of geek cultures that she wasn't aware of. She says about the group: "It is a great way to learn more about other interests. I hear about something cool another member likes and I find it and like it"
Lisabeth confessed that she's never been a person who had a lot of female friends. She recognized that her geeky side makes her especial and she is glad to be a geek, but she says that it is also one of the reasons she has lacked on friendships since she has usually been a loner. But, being part of LGO has improved her perspective on female friendships, she says: "Everyone in the group I’ve met have been super nice, I think I talk to somebody new in almost every event and that has been awesome." And we are certainly thrilled to have such a positive and kind geek be part of Ladies Geeking Out. Lisabeth is always willing to lend a helping hand and she has a great sense of humor. Every single LGO event she attends, she manages to make people smile. She's also great at making people feel comfortable and invited. Her commitment to the group is outstanding. She is a great example of not only an awesome geek, but a strong woman. She's not a unicorn, she exists, and she is amazing.